FORT HOOD – Prosecutors and Maj. Abu Nidal Malik Hasan, who is defending himself in a general court martial for capital murder and attempted capital murder of multiple victims, agreed on most items of evidence to be presented during examination of prospective jurors and opening statements – except one.
Private First Class Francheska Velez, a 21-year-old member of the 15th Combat Support Battalion from Chicago, pleaded that he spare her life because she was pregnant.
As the former Army psychiatrist took aim at her with a 5.7 x 27 mm FN Herstal semiautomatic pistol during a shooting rampage that left 13 persons dead and 32 wounded on Nov. 5, 2009, Velez screamed, “My baby, my baby!”
The major shot her anyway, ending her life and the life of her unborn child. She had reported to the Soldier Readiness Center that day to make ready for deployment overseas.
Velez is one of the few – or perhaps the only – American soldier ever to be cut down by a combatant while pregnant.
Hasan had entered a motion in limine to block prosecutors from mentioning that fact to prospective jurors during their questioning of fellow Army officers during voir dire proceedings and during their opening statements.
“The prejudice outweighs the probative value,” he told Col. Tara Osborn, the military judge who is detailed to hear his case.
After a long pause, she spoke firmly and with a high degree of resolution.
“I believe it is probative. It is part of the res gestae,” the judge replied. “The motion in limine is denied.”
Res gestae is a Latin legal phrase originated during the 17th century. It is defined as “The acts, circumstances, and statements that are incidental to the principal fact of a litigated matter and are admissible in evidence in view of their relevant association with that fact.”
Osborn ruled that prosecutors may not refer to the Mullah Anwar Awlaki as an addressee of e-mails Hasan sent on his laptop, though they may present evidence gleaned from the instrument.
The Mullah and he discussed the need for religious jihad in retaliation for acts of the American military in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Hasan offered no objection to the admissibility of the e-mails or of other evidence contained on his laptop.
He did object to the possibility that van drivers transporting the prospective jurors to the courthouse might discuss the case with them.
Osborn assured him that all drivers and other servants of the court will be admonished not to discuss the case with prospective jurors, and that if anyone attempts to do so, she will have previously instructed them to report that fact to her immediately.
She also asked Army prosecutors to look into the possibility of redacting redundant images of the bodies of the deceased victims in video they intend to present to prospective jurors and in their opening statements.
Hasan indicated he had no objection to the video images.
The court will reconvene Tuesday to review witness lists and other materials prior to the beginning of jury selection on July 9 and the case in chief of the trial on Aug. 6.
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How to post "live" URL in posts at PFA............. Adding URLs in blog posts that are not "live" is a waste of everyone's time.....
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